Another Sad Case Of fixato obsessivo barcelonis

It’s official! Vincent Tan’s Malaysian Red Dragon Hobby Team is “bigger by miles” than the Swans, and will soon be Wales’ equivalent of Barcelona. How know I these things? Because they were written by Craig Bellamy and published today in the Wasting Mule. Two sources that can be trusted to give balanced and impartial assessments of all things Cardiff. But there was more to it than simply having a pop at the Swans.Bellamy

For example, “We could control Merthyr, Rhondda, Caerphilly. We could have them in lockdown.” “Lockdown” is a term used in the penal system, it means prisoners confined to their cells. A loss of even limited freedom. (Maybe it ties in with a theme I explore below.) Used in this context it seems to suggest that Bellamy views the Valleys as a possession of imperial Cardiff. After reading that, and if I lived in the Valleys, I would be getting worried about the prospects offered by the Cardiff city region.

Then there’s his flawed understanding of the roles played by Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona. Bellamy says: “We can build on our regional identity in the way Athletic Bilbao have placed themselves at the centre of Basque culture and Barcelona have become a focus for Catalunya.” “Regional”! He seems to see Euzkadi and Catalunya as nothing but regions of Spain. He doesn’t seem to appreciate that both clubs (Bilbao with its Basque-only players rule) represent the desire of two small nations for independence. Something else Bellamy overlooks is tBellamy 2hat Bilbao and Barcelona are owned by those sharing this ambition. Neither Bilbao nor Barcelona is owned by an unknown Oriental tycoon for whom the club is just another investment . . . someone who could walk away tomorrow.

I don’t want to sound too harsh, but Craig Bellamy has had more clubs than Jack Nicklaus, most of which have been glad to see the back of him. For throughout his career he has displayed a genius for wearing out his welcome wherever he’s gone. And that’s without the court appearances for the odd ‘altercation’. To counter the image this projects he goes to Africa now and again to be photographed with poor black kids. Image management of the kind Al Capone – the philanthropist to Chicago’s poor during the Great Depression – would have understood.

His publishers seem to have appreciated this and run with the theme, to judoctor-with-stethoscopedge by the title of the book, GoodFella, an obvious reference to Martin Scorsese’s 1990 gangster epic, GoodFellas. So which one is Bellers? Not Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta; nor Robert De Nero’s Jimmy ‘the Gent’ Conway; I see him more as Tommy De Vito, played by Joe Pesci; the short one with the hair-trigger temper. The gangster motif is so blatant that even the noir-grungy picture used for the cover makes Bellamy look like a long dead associate of the Krays.

So what have we got here? Yet another book written by a fading footballer who never realised his potential. His publishers hope to sell more copies of the book by promoting the ‘bad boy’ image and by being provocative. As a result, this book is only for the most blinkered of Cardiff fans. Because I predict with certainty that it will not fly off the shelves in Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle or any of the other cities where Bellamy has played. And I can’t see any Swansea bookshops running out of copies either . . . that’s if they bother stocking it.

 

18 thoughts on “Another Sad Case Of fixato obsessivo barcelonis

  1. When Bellamy scored for Team GB he celebrated by raising his arm in the air. The same arm that is covered in tattoos of his “hero” Owain Glyndŵr, he’s done his research see but.

    “We need more people like Owain Glyndwr in Wales today,” said the West Ham United striker. “He is a big Welsh hero for me and in my opinion the biggest hero Wales has ever had. I have done all my Welsh history and I admire everything he stood for.”

    The irony must have been lost on him. Like most footballers he shouldn’t be allowed to open his mouth apart from when he needs to eat or drink.

    1. Jac

      Why am I not surprised. Though if that’s true, why does the Mule insist on calling it an ‘autobiography’?

      1. Waste of Trees

        It says ‘Autobiography’ on the cover.
        Waterstones list the book as written by Oliver Holt and its availability at their bookshops is ‘uncertain’.

        1. Jac

          In today’s WM Phil Blanche uses “his book” at the beginning of the article before lapsing back to “autobiography”.

  2. daffy2012

    Indeed, he doesn’t quite understand what’s been happening in the Basque country or in Catalunya.

    1. Jac

      I get the impression he’s looking through the wrong end of the telescope. By which I mean he sees everything through the prism of football rather than understanding that football is the effect not the cause of what he interprets to be the reaction of Basques and Catalans to the Castilian State.

  3. Llew

    He has his flaws, but so does Maradona. Bellamy isn’t some kind of saint. He gets things wrong. I fundamentally disagreed with him on Team GB. But he is proud to be Welsh. He recognises *some* aspects of the Basque and Catalan situations. The Basques and Catalans all play for the Spanish national team. To my dismay, there has not been one incident of any high profile player boycotting the team or turning down a call-up. Because Spain is the vehicle of convenience that gives them more games and allows them to hang out with their mates who play for other teams in the state. Team GB had some of those same characteristics.

    It’s not that bad for him to have called them regions. He doesn’t know or care about the correct terminologies. He says “that’s our identity..it’s strong…it’s separate”. But you quibble about the terminology?

    For me, it’s about building on the good things Bellamy says. Not rejecting it all. As a person he may be as flawed as the rest of us. That’s fine. But he’s a public figure. If he’s saying, doing or in any way promoting some things about Wales, i’ll seize on that.

    I always remember Bellamy congratulated Swansea for getting promoted and said it’d be good for Welsh football. Most Cardiff fans said the opposite. Bellamy is Cardiff through and through. His comments are completely normal from that perspective.

    I don’t care about the Cardiff-Swansea rivalry. It’s boring. It doesn’t help Wales in any way.

    I hope Jac that you don’t mind some robust but well-meaning criticism of your post.

    1. Jac

      Maybe I was a bit harsh on Bellers, but I suppose the stimulus for the piece was yet another idiotic comparison of Cardiff with Barcelona. I’ve been reading such comparisons for years now, and not always associated with football.

      There seems to be a lobby in Cardiff that sees Barcelona as the model to emulate, without apparently realising that Barcelona is an ancient, cultured city; a great centre of commerce and trade, and about six times the size of Cardiff. By comparison, Cardiff is a redundant coal port that was saved from decline by being made capital of Wales, and then enjoying the benefits of grabbing jobs and investment that should have been spread around the country. The only way Cardiff could emulate Barcelona is by impoverishing the rest of Wales, yet I believe there are some in Cardiff who’d regard that as a price worth paying. They’d justify it by saying, ‘Look, we’ve given you a capital to be proud of’.

      In the football context, when Sam Hammam took over Cardiff City he was also spouting this bollocks about the Bluebirds becoming as big as Barcelona – and the ‘Welsh’ media – I particularly remember Paul Abbandonato – acted as his uncritical mouthpiece. Hammam even suggested that everybody in Wales should support Cardiff City – yet more insulting bollocks, and not just for Swans fans. So we’ve been here before with this Barcelona nonsense and it doesn’t get any better hearing it from Bellamy.

      Though in today’s WM he seems to be backtracking. He’s quoted as saying: “We are never going to be like Barcelona”. So let’s hope that realism is at long last making an appearance. Cardiff City is not, and never will be, as big as Barcelona. Nor will it ever be ‘like’ Barcelona. For Barca is owned by the fans (like the Swans), whereas Cardiff is just another business to be bought and sold. Who’s to say who might own the club in three years time? Maybe somebody who’ll favour a pink strip.

  4. El T

    He’s talking bollocks. Cardiffians aren’t welcome in “the Valleys”, the older generations see them as being more foreign than Geordies or Yorkshiremen.

    Cardiff City have always been a laughing stock in the Rhondda, Cynon, Taff and Rhymney valleys. There isn’t a strong local football tradition in Mid Glamorgan. Most football fans support an established Premier League side.

    1. Jac

      It’s difficult to understand exactly what Bellamy (or his ghost writer) is trying to say about the relationship between Cardiff and the Valleys. The use of the word “lockdown” suggests control, or domination, rather than an equal relationship. It’s a very strange word to use in that context.

  5. Robert Tyler

    Didn’t Bellamy give a load of his own money to help out Wrecsam some years ago? Hardly the act of the Cardiff centric.

  6. C

    “Cardiff grew around the docks, the people who worked there came from outside Wales mainly and were involved in shipping coal out of the country. They wanted to set themselves apart from the local population so they invented this stupid accent.

    Wales’ capital should be a Welsh city not a jumped up railway terminus.”

    1. Jac

      Quoting from the story: “The donation is believed to be part of the fine Cardiff-born Bellamy received from Liverpool for his part in a Portuguese training-camp incident, which included a row with team-mate John Arne Riise.”

      Which puts a different complexion on it. My guess is that when a player is fined by his club he’s allowed to nominate where he wants the money to go. In which case, this was money he was going to lose anyway. It’s certainly not a ‘donation’ in the accepted sense.

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